The couple met at SCI (State Correctional Institution) Chester, a medium-security male prison in Pennsylvania. Both Adriel and Monae were inmates who first exchanged glances in the prison laundry.
Monae, a trans woman and had already started to take hormone replacements before entering the prison but she hadn’t yet had surgery.
When Monae and Adriel got together they came across opposition from both in and out of prison. From the staff and fellow prisoners inside the prison to family and fellow gang members on the outside world, the couple’s unlikely love story left a lot of people with a lot of questions.
Adriel speaking to Truly said: ‘I think being inside was the foundation that made our relationship. ‘I saw Monae at her lowest, Monae saw me at my lowest. I saw her at her happiest, she’s seen me at my happiest.’
‘We wanted to get married as inmates in the prison but there was no policy in place to marry two inmates at the time’. reports Linda Ikejis
Monae added: ‘We had that unique bond in prison, so I guess what makes us stronger.’
Immediately Monae left prison she rushed to have top and bottom surgery ahead of their wedding day. Monae’s mother and godfather were the only family members that attended.
Adriel said: ‘I got my hair braided, I got my state browns pressed with starch and all that. It was in the visiting room. Nobody was there, it was just me, Monae, Monae’s mother, Monae’s godfather, a couple of councilors, union manager and the lady that officiated the wedding and the reverend.’
Over five and a half years later the couple has finally reunited on the outside world with Adriel finishing his sentence and getting ready to start a new life together with the wife he has yet to live with.
As seen on LOVE DON’T JUDGE